The evidence was clear: Jose Mourinho outwitted Pep Guardiola. The Madrid gaffer infused Pepe in a central midfield role higher up the field to cancel out the movements of Xavi. Pepe did the job on Xavi, which stunted Barca's passing game early on, and created a proactive approach for Madrid to deal with the crafty Catalan midfield: pressure them up high when they receive the ball.
The plan also called for balls to be played down the wings to expose Barca's wing-backs and swing in crosses. Cristiano Ronaldo was incorporated as the squads main striker and he did what any good striker does: nodded home when called upon.
All in all, Mourinho's tactic of neutralizing the midfield and banging balls down the flanks paid dividends. Hell, he even let Barca come at Madrid in the second half, as Zonal Marking highlights in a much more comprehensive look at the game.
In the next two Champions League Classicos we will truly see what Pep Guardiola is made of as a coach. Mourinho's got the drop on him now, but can Pep respond with some wily tactics of his own? We'll see.
Oh and I had to add this:
It's been over a decade since Madrid won the Copa del Rey...and now the trophy is smashed to bits thanks to Sergio Ramos and the team bus.
|Real Madrid - 2011 Copa del Rey Winners|